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Obstacles that prevent the eradication of head lice and Lousy Solutions' Mission

The motivation for Lousy Solutions came from a desire to help families and small communities not only treat head lice in the most effective way possible, based on clinical evidence, but also to enable a coordinated approach to treatment across the immediate community. Over time we have formed the opinion that there is just one action that can halt the spread of head lice and that is to mount a coordinated attack!

Unlike infectious diseases (think Covid-19), the body does not defend itself or develop an immunity to head lice; previous exposure provides no future protection. Frustratingly, immediately the treatment is complete we are again vulnerable to a new infestation. No matter how effective the treatment, unless we treat those around us that are also infested, and at the same time, we are destined for a never-ending cycle of re-infestation.

Adult and nymph head louse

Some of the obstacles to effective treatment and management include:

1.    THE CODE OF SILENCE. There is a code of silence that surrounds head lice outbreaks brought on, in the main, by a fear of being judged. This silence inhibits effective "contact tracing” and prevents people from being made aware they may have been exposed. Under these circumstances treatment is not coordinated; those treated on one day can be immediately re-infested the next by contacts not treated simultaneously.

 2.    FAKE NEWS.  Myths and misinformation about head lice biology and treatments abound! This fake news has us taking irrational actions and keeps us from focusing on methods of management that could be truly effective.

3.    OUTBREAK APATHY.  The ongoing cycle of reinfestation has a behavioural consequence whereby individuals fail to act even when they are aware of an outbreak, not because they are lazy or do not care but because, after diligently checking heads each time a note comes home and finding nothing, the perception of risk declines. 

It is THE MISSION of LOUSY SOLUTIONS to overcome these obstacles by providing families, schools and child care centres with expert advice and management tools to control head lice, including:

  • Providing evidence-based treatments for families, with options to suit different values and lifestyles.

  • Minimising therapy failure through education on louse biology and the correct treatment techniques and follow-up.

  • Crafting communication tools to educated and inform communities and to normalise the conversation around head lice.

  • Designing school and childcare lice control programs that co-ordinate screening and treatment across communities and break the cycle of re-infestation.

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